Choosing a theme for your kitchen

The style of your bricks and mortar shouldn't be a hindrance when it comes to choosing a look for your kitchen. Just because you live in a Georgian town house or Eighties high-rise apartment, there are no rules saying you have to decorate the interior accordingly. If you've ever come back from your travels inspired by a simple Greek farmhouse, an Italianate Tuscan villa, French country-style gite or homespun New England homestead, you can recreate each look to a subtle degree in your home without it feeling tacky.

Tips for choosing a theme

  • Use a favourite souvenir from your travels as inspiration for a colour theme.
  • Create a mood board of paint swatches and magazine tear sheets showing your favourite room and product shots.
  • Use travel brochures for inspiration.

For any style to sit comfortably within your four walls, the key is using elements of a style with restraint instead of choosing a top-to-toe, wall-to-wall theme, and mixing in simple, timeless elements in keeping with your home to avoid overkill.

Tuscan kitchen
The Italian country kitchen is the heart of the home so this welcoming look is great for the larger family kitchen. When it comes to putting an initial mood board together, choose warm, earthy tones of terracotta, umber, saffron and rich red. Combine carved, dark wood units with terracotta flooring, tiled splashbacks and worktops in a yellow, deep blue, green or terracotta glaze, enamel Butler-style sink, traditional brass taps and Italianate wooden shutters. Accessorize with simple hand-thrown cream tableware, cream table linen, natural recycled glassware and just a few touches of patterned Majolica pottery.

New England kitchen
This beautifully relaxed and classic look takes its inspiration from New England coastal communities such as Nantucket and Providence. It's a light, theme with a homespun charm that you won't tire of easily. Choose hand-painted cabinetry in muted shades of olive green, clotted cream or duck egg blue and combine with oak woodblock worktop, plank flooring, white enamel sink, stainless steel or cream enamel Aga-style cooker and chunky wall tiles in subtle, natural shades.

If your kitchen space is big enough, invest in a freestanding, country-style butcher's block for food preparation and an heirloom-style, hand-painted cabinet for displaying simple creamware and stemware. Add colour with ticking and Shaker style checked fabrics.

Greek island kitchen
Want that holiday feel all year-round? Then choose a beautifully simple and modest Greek style kitchen. Choose straight-edged wooden cabinets and paint the door fronts with a cobalt blue, water-based matt paint and combine with blue tiled worktop, plain white backsplash, whitewashed walls, terracotta tiled floor, white enamel cooker and simple white window shutters layered over antique lace café-style panels.

Display earthenware and plain white crockery on open shelving and invest in one or two hand painted pottery pieces. If you have space for a dining table, invest in a refectory style wooden table and straight-backed painted blue chairs with woven wicker seat.

French country kitchen
This look manages to combine rustic country charm with a grand, chateau-like sophistication. Opt for units in an aged shade of parchment or dove grey featuring beautifully-turned, bevelled detailing. Team with natural stone or slate on the floor, black or cream enamel Aga, chunky wooden worktops and tiled splashbacks in earthy shades.

This a look that works well with freestanding features, so choose an antique-style armoire for displaying tableware and an island unit with matching hood as a focal point. Hang copper pans on a black wrought iron pot hanger and accessorize the room with rustic oil bottles and richly coloured earthenware.